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By E.C. Gladstone

Las Vegas hotels

CityCenter (Courtesy: CityCenter Land, LLC)

Las Vegas is a city built upon sizzle, anticipation, and hype. Which is why, unlike many other Vegas bloggers, I try never to report on anything until it is actually happening (a lot of exciting ideas get stalled, or never even start). Still, there’s a certain upcoming project which has been so hotly discussed, not just in all the Las Vegas hotels, but around the world, that it can’t be avoided.

If you’ve been in Vegas at all this year, you can’t have missed it: a hulking conglomeration of architecturally adventurous steel and glass skyscrapers that, honestly, looks like something out of a movie. A big movie. A big, loud, expensive movie.

Set on some 67 acres on the west side of the Strip between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts, CityCenter is said to be the largest single construction project ever in the U.S. (18 million square feet — all LEED certified). Due to open in December 2009, CityCenter is poised to present a daunting array of high-tech hotel suites, residences, exclusiveshopping, gorgeous spas and more, in a setting filled with remarkable architecture (eight of the world’s most eminent firms) and public art. Here’s just a tease:

Las Vegas hotel

Vdara (Courtesy: CityCenter Land, LLC)


The first Las Vegas hotel to open, Vdara will offer nearly 1500 view-centricsuites in 57 stories. It will be joined by Aria, with 4000 rooms in 61 stories — featuring the remarkable Control4 tech systems that will supervise your entire environment (lights, air, music, curtains) from one unit — and capped by massive Sky Villas—Mandarin Oriental — 390 rooms and suites, 227 residences, and the Veer residential towers. In 2010, the Harmon, a 400-room ultra-luxury boutique hotel, will complete the accommodations.


With nearly half a million square feet of shopping, Crystals will present an earth-shattering array of high-end retail, including firsts-for-Vegas from Tom Ford, Assouline, Kitson, Miu Miu, Paul Smith, Marni, Tourbillion, Mikimoto and Porsche Design. More names include Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., de Grisogono, H. Stern, Ermenegildo Zegna, Prada, Christian Dior, Bulgari, Carolina Herrera, Hermes, Roberto Cavalli, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Versace, Bally, Emilio Pucci, Ilori and Dale Chihuly.

Las Vegas Hotels

BARMASA by Chef Masayoshi Takayama (Courtesy: CityCenter Land, LLC)


Chef Martin Heierling, long one of the Bellagio’s somewhat unsung talents (at Sensi) oversees all the food service at Vdara: his Silk Road restaurant is sure to be exciting…Within the Crystals retail and entertainment district, dining will include Wolfgang Puck’s new “Pods,” Eva Longoria Parker’s Beso, Mastro’s Ocean Club Seafood House and a Todd English pub… Aria’s array of restaurateurs will include Masayoshi Takayama (Masa NYC), Shawn McClain, (Chicago’s Spring) Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Michael Mina, Julian Serrano (Picasso), Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque) and chocolatier Jean-Philippe Maury … perhaps most exciting of all, though, is the American debut of renowned French culinary innovator Pierre Gagnaire.

Entertainment, Art and more

  • City Center’s 160,000 square foot casino will be based in the Aria.
  • A new Cirque du Soleil show? Mais oui, and this one inspired by the King of Rock and Vegas, Mr. Elvis Presley.
  • A category-killing night club from the Light Group (JET, The Bank, Bare Pool, etc) will lure the party people… while the pretty people will seek Mandarin Oriental’s 27,000 square-foot spa, or smaller pamper palaces at Vdara and Harmon.
  • WET design, the people behind the Bellagio fountains and Mirage volcano will present three different fire/water installations promised to be groundbreaking.
  • Perhaps most remarkably, $40 million of commissioned works from artists including Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Nancy Rubins, Claes Oldenburg and Frank Stella, among many others, with be displayed throughout the project.
  • And I should probably not forget 300,000 square feet of technologically advanced meeting and convention space . Just in case your team wants to consider it over, say, Milwaukee.

Insider Tip: CityCenter isn’t the only place with new rooms in Vegas this year: Check out the Monte Carlo’s new boutique experience Hotel 32; Hard Rock Hotel’s new towers, and even the Golden Nugget’s new Rush Tower downtown!

Related Orbitz resources:

A regular contributor to LVM:Las Vegas Magazine and Las Vegas Weekly, E. C. Gladstone also interviews top Strip entertainers, restauranteurs, moguls and behind-the-scenes players for other national publications and websites. Like many Las Vegans, he sleeps only when absolutely necessary.

Tagged: Las Vegas

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Eric Gladstone

Eric Gladstone

Veteran entertainment and travel writer E. C. Gladstone writes regularly for Las Vegas Magazine and the Las Vegas Weekly, also interviewing top Strip entertainers, restauranteurs, moguls and behind-the-scenes players for other local and national publications and websites. Like many Las Vegans, he sleeps only when absolutely necessary.

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